Daily Archives: April 20, 2015

Slaying Isidore’s Dragons by Cody Kennedy

slaying-isidores-dragons

From Harmony Ink:

Admittedly, after counting down the months, then weeks, days and hours until this book came up for review, I almost convinced myself that perhaps… just perhaps, Cody Kennedy would have at least one flaw, and that maybe this book would not be what Omorphi was to me. I laugh as I write this review, because I can’t believe I even entertained the idea that he wouldn’t hit it out of the park! I simply just sit here in the dark of my bedroom, AMPED to write this review. I must begin, as one does, at the beginning. The moment I laid eyes on the cover, I was sold by Reese Dante’s intense vision of the novel. Isidore’s beautiful soul, his tragic pose, calls as hauntingly as Christy’s eyes do from the cover of Omorphi. The prologue grips you from the few pages it takes up… and explosively, the novel takes flight.
Declan and Isidore, tied to one another by common misfortune, find new life as they begin to share a life. Declan has always been strong, but wary of people due to being a “dip kid,” as he terms being the child of a diplomat. He is quick to speak his thoughts, quick to defend those he loves—his friends, his mother, and his boyfriend—and yet, he does not commit to violence unless pushed to great lengths. Isidore grows so much during the novel that it’s hard to picture him at the beginning, wishing only for the day to be over, so that the pain can stop. When Declan moves to take him in, to protect him, and when Sorcha—my gods, she’s a beautiful character and truly, goddesshood would behoove her!—when Sorcha meets him and decides the de Quirkes are not ever going to let him go, I lost my heart. To watch him bloom as Isidore begins to know a completely different life, one where he is loved and valued, where he is a part of a family that loves and cherishes one another; watching Isidore, tiny Isidore, start to shine so brightly, I swear that my eyes teared up almost every single time he laughed.
Master Kennedy, having advertised Slaying Isidore’s Dragons as a young adult Jason Bourne novel, spoke truth. It had everything I wanted from the advert: suspense, romance, action, truth, cliffhanger chapters… the works! As was expected, Kennedy crafted a balance that never tipped once in these wonderful pages, and he knew exactly where to place breathing moments. And, you know, I have to say that even knowing as I went into this book that it would end in a beginning, one where, as a beloved Doctor from Gallifrey once put it, “everybody lives!” I love the spin that Kennedy puts on things. I love how his masterful storytelling sucks you straight the characters’ world and you forget that he’s going to give you that HEA at the end. You get so lost in Declan and Isidore’s lives that you worry if Isidore’s going to be okay or if his evil dragons are going to get a win, and that though Declan fights valiantly, he will be vanquished!
Then, of course, you remember that like life, Cody Kennedy finds a way. He will bring you back to the beginning at the end, and he will remind you that though life has dark moments (that sometimes, feel like dark lifetimes), the sun will shine through, that all you have to do is fight. Hope is real, and everyone has a chance to be victorious, to slay their dragons… if you just believe, if you hold to hope, if you act.
I always include a “what I liked and didn’t like” paragraph in my reviews, and being mindful not to tell too much, I must include one here. First, there wasn’t a single word I didn’t like. Not one. That being said, on to what I did like. I loved the allusions to David and Jonathan from the Books of Samuel in The Bible. I loved the mentions of Alexander the Great and Hephaistion. I simply loved the conversation Isidore has with first Declan and then Sorcha about how to write his paper on Hephaistion without lying. I loved the intensity of the chemistry between Isidore and Declan, and I love the way that it culminated in beautiful displays of both affection and lovemaking. I loved the relationship between Declan and Sorcha. I love the description of Declan’s coming out to his parents. I loved Mike and Bobby. Heck, I even loved Professor Lowe.
Naturally, I’m going to have favorite parts. One of my favorite scenes in the entire book is Isidore defending Declan in the school cafeteria. I loved watching Declan challenge Isidore’s four half-brothers, willing to take all of them on at one time, holding Isidore behind his back in a daring, “just try to take him from me; I dare you!” move. I loved the tender moment where Declan breaks down in Isidore’s arms. I loved the gift that Declan makes for Isidore. I loved Isidore meeting Mike, and I loved Isidore protecting Caleb. And there are so many, many, many more moments that I loved.
But… now it’s over. I’ve reached the hated last page and the moment where I just don’t know what to do with myself. I guess it’s a good thing that I bought a hard copy, then. I will just pick that baby up and start an immediate re-read. After all… this is a Cody Kennedy book. Cody Kennedy books are meant to be read over and over again. Just like Nico and Caleb, and Christy and Michael before them, Declan and Isidore bring a message of hope, a message of it gets better… and really, don’t we all need a reminder every now and again that we are strong enough to weather the storm?
All I can say, in conclusion, is THANKEE, MASTER CODY!!!!! This book was well worth the wait and it was a total honor to review! Also… when is Tharros going to be released?

Rating:amazing

Buy from: Amazon

More than Chemistry Audiobook by Kate Sherwood narrated by Derrick McClain

Dreamspinner presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6288

more than chemistryBlurb

Jack Lawson grew up poor and can’t forget it. He’s a huge success in the business world, but it won’t be enough until the image of “poor little Jack” is completely wiped away. When Jack runs into his old friend, Noah Mercier, he decides that Noah’s sister, an up-and-coming movie star, would be the perfect evidence of glamorous success. If Jack can win Hayley, it will be clear to everyone, including himself, that he has truly arrived.
The problem with Jack’s grand plan is that he’s more attracted to Noah. Jack’s never worried about the gender of his conquests, but Noah just isn’t flashy enough for Jack’s scheme to set the world on fire… unless Jack realizes he has practically no control over deciding who he wants – and even less choice in who he needs.

Review

Jack is a millionaire running a chemical company when he meets Noah, an acquaintance from the past. At first, Jack (comfortably bi-sexual) is attracted to Noah and figures he’d like a quick affair with the man, but after speaking to him he learns that Noah has a famous sister and it’s her coat-tails he’d like to ride. A final bit of proof that he’s made it and is not the poor loser he was in high school.

Noah and Jack end up spending a lot of time together working on an ad campaign for Jack’s company. During this time both men seem to be falling in love but Jack can’t shake off his plan of wowing the public with a famous girlfriend, so he doesn’t act on his feelings.

Luckily, once he does manage to take out the famous sister, he’s come to the conclusion that Noah means more than glory and he sets about winning Noah’s heart instead.

**

This was a very short, cute love story along the lines of Cyrano. Noah is in the awkward position of setting up Jack with his sister but coveting him for himself.

Since it was a short story things moved ridiculously quickly but it was still a great story with a lovely HEA.

Audio

Derrick McClain is new to me as far as narration goes, but he did a very nice job with the story. He infused emotion and differentiated voices and even managed a passable female voice when needed.

I enjoyed both the story and the narration and give it 4 of 5 hearts.

4

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Saugatuck Summer by Amelia C Gormley

Riptide Publishing Presents http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/saugatuck-summer

SaugatuckSummer_500x750Blurb

Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.

My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.

Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.

Review

(From previous site)

This book exemplifies for me the reason why m/m is such a powerful subgenre.  Amelia has written two very flawed MCs and yet their love story is both powerful and sweet.  She touches on some very timely subjects: the nature of what qualifies as abuse, the boundaries and taboos of sexual desire, racial equality, societal “norms”… But she is neither preachy nor overbearing.

There are times you hurt as you turn the page, watching Topher place himself in bad situation after bad situation, but the pay out is so worth it.  You can see growth, love, and understanding.  No – it’s not all peaches and cream, but when is life, ever?

Another beautiful thing Amelia has done is to give us two MCs who BOTH have flaws, and yes, it is a Rescue Me story, but in the end both characters are “rescued”, and neither is helpless.

I found her exploration of Topher’s sexuality particularly well done.  You would expect that an out and proud man would “know” himself pretty well, but as she shows us, that isn’t always the case and we internalize so much from our environment without really asking ourselves if this is ME or THEM.  Very well done.

Amelia is a fantastic writer whose characters drive this story through aching pain and delicious happiness.  She has great editing and a smooth, writing style that is evocative and decadent without crossing over into purple prose.

It felt real, and believable, and still so sweet.  Some of this is the first person usage, which I really like.  It felt intimate and I like that – especially in an angsty book.  Though I would have loved more from Jace’s POV or even Brendan’s you definitely know what they are thinking and it doesn’t detract from the story.

This is the first in a series and the first I have read of this author.  I look forward to more.

An excellent book, I highly recommend.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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